The dream of every bird owner is to keep his birds in the largest possible aviary in order to fully express their natural urge to fly. It is probably most beautiful when it is implemented in a well-constructed and beautiful outdoor aviary. We want to deal with this topic here and specifically address the points of planning and construction.
As a bird keeper, there are a few things you need to consider when considering building an outdoor aviary. The most important points include the costs incurred. These should by no means be underestimated because, over time, more and more cost factors will be added. Of course, such an aviary is not cheap to buy or under construction, but there are also regularly recurring expenses for accessories such as feed and litter. There are also costs that cannot be calculated, such as veterinary costs. These expenses, in particular, should not be underestimated, as many birds (more than those kept indoors) are generally more likely to suffer from illness. Last but not least, renovation work and the associated renewal costs (which inevitably appear after a few years at the latest) are added to the list.
The next important point to consider is the effort. Of course, an aviary is not a lot of work every day, because you have to feed, change the water and inspect the birds even in a smaller bird home. The cleaning, however, is much more complex here. This not only includes the larger area, but there are also physical tasks to be carried out such as lugging litter bags or sifting bird sands. In general, an annual spring cleaning is mandatory, which can take a full day or two.
Two other points apply not only to you but to other people as well. On the one hand, you need a suitable vacation replacement if you want to travel longer than two days. Ideally, this person knows about birds himself and can act independently if irregularities occur. On the other hand, you should ask your neighbors beforehand. Quite a few noisy birds have caused a neighborhood fight in an outdoor aviary.
Last but not least, after planning the aviary, you have to ask the responsible office whether the project is allowed and approved at all. Not that you have to tear down your beloved and successful aviary later because it violates certain requirements.
The Planning and Construction Phase
This phase is probably the most fun because this is where you can let your creativity run free. As the name suggests (aviary comes from the French “voler”, which means to fly), the purpose of an aviary is to give birds space to fly. By the way, flying makes a major contribution to the health and well-being of animals. The rule is: the bigger the better; after all, you have to consider that the residents have to get along with the space in the aviary in the long term. No additional free flight is possible here as with the indoor attitude.
The ultimate size of the aviary depends on various points. Of course, first of all, the total number of birds and the number of different bird species play a role. Our tip: Do not choose a square, but an elongated floor plan – these shapes offer longer flight routes.
One should also consider whether the birds should breed regularly. In this case, there must be a separate area where the breeding pairs are undisturbed. Another space factor!
In addition to size, there are of course other points that are important, such as safety. The aviary must be built in such a way that it is impossible to break in or break out. If this security is not given, cats, martens & Co. can pose a serious threat to your pets. For the benefit of your own birds, double wiring and a solid foundation should be used. Another important point for security is a lock. This ensures that no bird can slip out with you unnoticed. If someone does make it through the first door, you can reset them before you step through the outer door.
If the birds are kept outside all year round, a shelter is also necessary. This should be draft-free and offer a protective retreat from the heat, moisture, and cold. It is important that birds are not exposed to the elements, as both heat and cold can have serious health effects. A heated shelter that protects against frost in winter is ideal.
Even if the construction of such an “ideal” outdoor aviary is not a cheap matter, one should not do without high-quality materials in order to save. On the one hand, these parts then have to be replaced more quickly (for example, unglazed wood molds faster), on the other hand, they can also harbor health risks. Harness wire, for example, contains zinc, which is highly toxic to birds. Therefore, never resort to cheaper alternatives if you do not know that they are 100% harmless and safe. By the way, you don’t have to build the aviary yourself; there are also suppliers who specialize in the manufacture of bird aviaries.
Advantages and Disadvantages of an Outdoor Aviary
Finally, we want to deal with the advantages and disadvantages of outdoor aviaries in order to guarantee an objective approach.
The advantages are obvious. Of course, the most important point here is that the birds have plenty of space to fly. In this way, they can live out their natural needs and also train their core muscles. They also benefit from the many sensory stimuli from different weather conditions. You are more balanced and enjoy the natural conditions. The two previous points together show that keeping in an outdoor aviary is generally much more species-appropriate than keeping in a cramped cage.
However, one must also consider the disadvantages, especially the costs, which should not be underestimated, which are much higher than with cage management. There are also health risks that are not to be feared indoors. Due to the closer contact with nature, the birds can become infected with infections, worms, or other diseases from wild birds or rodents. You also have to hope that your neighbors will love animals. An outdoor aviary full of constantly screaming macaws is guaranteed not to be the most conducive to a healthy neighborhood relationship.
Since we have now focused on planning and construction, we want to take a closer look at the right equipment and birdlife in the aviary in a future blog entry.